Iowa: Iowa Arboretum and Gardens

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1875 Peach Ave , Madrid, IA 50156

The Iowa Arboretum began in 1968 as a centennial project of the Iowa Horticultural Society with the purchase of 40 acres of farmland in a rural area with close proximity to the Des Moines River. A roughly circular roadway was laid out adjacent to which various woody plant collections were established so that each could be accessed from the paths. The large conifers, mostly species, were placed south of the perennial gardens, fairly close to the first building, now the Cafferty Building. These early plantings, now around 50 years old, are quite mature. The dwarf conifers, many of which are truly intermediate in size, were planted west of that area on the highest point of the 40 acres. Currently, the dwarf conifer collection includes approximately 300 plants. A gazebo now anchors that space and provides a great destination for the "conifer explorer". The Dwarf Conifer Collection was renamed the Jacobsen Conifer Collection in memory of ACS member and Arboretum board member Craig Jacobsen. An alpine garden of bermed beds has recently been established as the entry point to this collection and has enabled the addition of miniature conifers. In keeping with the mission of the Iowa Arboretum, there has been an attempt to grow specimens of all the conifer genera able to thrive in Iowa rather than to specialize in a particular genus.